Just getting started...comments welcome

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Shayne

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Wow what a great site this has been in getting our new aquarium up and running.

A little background.  My 8 year old daughter and I have been putting this aquarium together over the last month while
my wife has just been sitting in the background watching and offering encouragement.  We started with a "kit" that was
on sale at the LFS.  It's 75 gal. and came with most everything but the decorations, water and fish.  We bought a couple
of decorations that my girl picked out.  Also, I was in the field for work inspecting bridges, so I picked up a bunch of pretty
river rocks.  We tested the rocks with vinegar and then boiled them.  We added some silk plants and 3 air stones.  Overall
it looks very good and we're pleased.

Five days ago we added water.  The water comes from our well so there is no chlorine or anything like that.  I did add water
conditioner simply because it came with the "kit" and I didn't think it would hurt.  The "kit" also came with aquarium salt and
a product called "Cycle".  Both of which were added.

On day 2 we started adding 38 drops of ammonia and have repeated that each day since.  Also, we've been testing each day,
which has been pretty fun for us.  The ammonia level has been slowly coming up and is now at .5.  The PH is pretty high, I
forget the exact number, but it's one level below the highest on the high range PH test card, 8.something.  Currently we are
getting 0 Nitrite.

Currently we're just trying to be patient and are hoping to see some Nitrites soon.  When we do we'll decrees the ammonia
to 23 drops per day until we see some Nitrates.

So, are we doing anything right?  Anything wrong?  Any comments or suggestions would be welcome and thanks for all the
great articles.

Shayne
 

genie

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You are off to a great start! Yahhh! You might want to consider a water conditioner that takes out metals, or use some live plants. Sometimes well water has chemicals and metals that fish can't tolerate. But since you seem to be cycling this tank "fishless" then the time it takes may neutralize those things. Be patient, it could take up to 2 months for your tank to cycle. I know the waiting seems sooo unbearable. Good luck, and ask all of the questions that you can think of-- we are all glad to help!!
 
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Shayne

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Genie,

Thanks so much for your reply. I'm going to check into a conditioner that will remove metals.

I've now got the ammonia level up to over 1.0 but have yet to get any nitrites. I'll just keep
on going as I am and hopefully we'll see something on the nitrite test soon.


thanks
Shayne
 

genie

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Lots of luck to ya!
 

Neville

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hi shayne, welcome to fishlore, this is neville. what kind of fish r u going to buy for your new tank? waht is your favorite?
 
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Shayne

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Hey Neville,

That's a good question.  My wife says she doesn't want any fish that will eat other fish. :  My
daughter is kind of taking my wife's lead on that issue, so I'm researching some community fish
that will get along well.

I'm thinking I'll start with building a school of Zebra Danios.  In my reading, it looks like they get
along well with others and are pretty hardy.  Looks like they take up room in the middle of the
tank and are quite active.  I'd like to build up to about 10 of these.

Other fish I'm considering are: Ghost Shrimp, Dwarf Gourami, Platy's and some Cory Cats.

I'll be taking it slow, I could see this taking a year or more to get fully stocked.  Of course I've
still got to get this tank cycled first.  I've yet to get any Nitrites, but the Ammonia has leveled off
at just over 1.0, even though I continue to add 38 drops a day.

So what do you think? Know of any other fish that could get along with the above or any of
the above that may be a problem?

thanks
Shayne
 

susitna-flower

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Welcome Shayne, to fishlore. You said you added salt in the 'kit' to the tank. How much? I have in the past added salt to my freshwater tank, but now that I have read more about it, won't do that because it changes the osmotic pressure the fish have to deal with, and unless you are keeping fish suited for a brackish water, or salt water, you can add stress to your typical community tank species. :'(
Another thing to avoid for the same reason is trying to reduce your PH with additives, which can also dramatically increase the total dissolved solids causing a decrease in osmotic pressure . Another problem with this practice, is that the additives might bring the PH down temporarily, then it tends to shoot right back up! To bring down your PH you have three options: #1 filter your tank using peat as one of the componets in your filter media (would require you to use a canaster or other filter that is made to use filter medias, not just mechanical filtration, which will make for a healthier tank all around. #2 Use Bottled water for at least 50% of the tank water, this will be an ongoing expense and will need to be part of your tank maintenance. #3 make an investment in an RO water filter system, and use this water in your tank, this will drop the PH as well as taking out all heavy metals. It would be my choice, for health of your fish and drinking water! Systems are available online, and range from $150 - $350.
Most community fresh water fish will not do well at a PH of 8. They will do best at 6.8-7.4. IF you do introduce fish to your tank at this PH level, do it VERY slowly, and if you have otherwise unexplained deaths, it can very well be the PH. Good Luck with this, I also use well water, but mine comes out of the ground at 7.2 so I'm lucky. However since I want to raise Angles, and at some point own Discus, I am still going to invest in an RO system. Let us know how it is going.

Fish in the Frozen North. Snowed 3" last night, currently +20F and sun. 8)
 

Neville

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Shayne said:
Hey Neville,

That's a good question.  My wife says she doesn't want any fish that will eat other fish. :  My
daughter is kind of taking my wife's lead on that issue, so I'm researching some community fish
that will get along well.

I'm thinking I'll start with building a school of Zebra Danios.  In my reading, it looks like they get
along well with others and are pretty hardy.  Looks like they take up room in the middle of the
tank and are quite active.  I'd like to build up to about 10 of these.

Other fish I'm considering are: Ghost Shrimp, Dwarf Gourami, Platy's and some Cory Cats.

I'll be taking it slow, I could see this taking a year or more to get fully stocked.  Of course I've
still got to get this tank cycled first.  I've yet to get any Nitrites, but the Ammonia has leveled off
at just over 1.0, even though I continue to add 38 drops a day.

So what do you think? Know of any other fish that could get along with the above or any of
the above that may be a problem?

thanks
Shayne
hi shayne,

danios r great choice, don't know about shrimps, but platies, cories and dwarfs r very peaceful and nice fish, u've got a huge tank.........u can keep some tetras in that tank too; they r also very hardy and excellent tank mates for danios, tetras r schooling fish, they look very beautiful when they swim together, u can keep several species of them together like serpae, red eye, neon etc. u have to keep at least 6 of them to avoid fin nipping, i also have a 75 gallon tank, kept angels and platies in that, they look beautiful. but first complete the cycle............feel free to ask if u have any question.

good luck
 
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Shayne

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Susitna-Flower, Neville,

Thanks some much for your helpful replies.

I was at the LFS last night just looking at the fish. I'm looking forward to when I can bring a few home. I want
them to have a nice place to live first, so I'll wait until the tank is cycled.

I added some extra ammonia last night to get the reading up a little over 2.0, also I tuned the heater up to 84
from 80. Hopefully I'll see something happening soon to at least let me know that I'm on the right track.

thanks
Shayne
 

susitna-flower

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  Shayne,   I know you said you added Cycle, and that is something I have used, but if you still aren't seeing a change in the nitrite levels, it may be a good idea to get another product.   Bio-Spira , for sale at   is suppose to be much more effective in introducing the proper bacteria to your tank. I am in the process of setting up a new 50 gal tank, and plan to use this product to try and speed up my cycle.   

Fish in the Frozen North  8)
 
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Shayne

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I used cycle just because it came with the aquarium "kit". In hind-sight, I think quite a bit
of the "kit" is just a way for the fish store to sell un-needed stuff.

Is it necessary to use any product at all to cycle the tank?

I'll get the Bio-Spira if I need to though. Thanks for the link.

Shayne
 
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Shayne

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;D ;D ;D

Wow, what a difference in the past few days.  Started getting nitrites last Fri. and the
levels kept on rising over the weekend.  Now the nitrites are off the chart.  The cool
thing is that the ammonia levels have gone to 0 even though I'm still adding 22 drops
per day.

The other thing that is going on is that the nitrates have slowly climbed to 20.

So what do I do now?  Just keep adding the 22 drops of ammonia?  I guess I wait to
do a water change until the nitrites get to 0, right?

thanks
Shayne
 

sgould

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Cool! Yes, keep adding the ammonia. Now that you have the bacteria established, you have to keep feeding them or they will die off and you will be back where you started. Once you have fish in the tank they will take over ammonia production and you will stop with the drops. For now, keep testing your water until the nitrites also drop to zero. When they do...do a partial water change to keep the nitrates in line and get you some fish!
 
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